Introduction: DIY Photography Light Box

Picture of DIY Photography Light Box

Here are the instructions to make a DIY light box that cost less than $20US.

2x clip lights (for sides)

1x flexible light (for top)

1x extension chord (3 power slots)

2x hard back books

1x tripod (not essential but recommended)

1x piece of white material (1 square yard should be enough)

1x big box (size can vary, this one is 22"W x 15"H x 16"D)

1x little box (to support top light & to store all your lightbox equipment when not in use, this one is 9"W x 16"H x 7"D)

1x large background poster paper (cut to width of the big box, white is what this example uses)

1x camera

Step 1: Prep the Box Flaps

Picture of Prep the Box Flaps

Cut off one of the long flaps on the box. Three flaps will remain (1 long flap for the top, 2 short flaps for the sides)

Step 2: Cut Lock Tabs Into Box Flaps

Picture of Cut Lock Tabs Into Box Flaps

The tabs are meant to lock the flaps to the main 'body' of the box. This will reinforce the edges of the box to make your lightbox more durable.

1. Measure 1 inch from outer-most-edge of box flaps (This line will be cut in 3 different parts so that 2 tabs will be left)

2. Use a pencil to measure out two tabs in this 1 inch area (Each tab should be about 2 inches wide, shape can vary)

3. Use your ruler to fold a nice straight crease into the box flap (Flap is to be folded outwards)

4. Use a blade CAREFULLY to cut out your drawn tabs (DO ALL 3 FLAPS AT ONCE... 6 TABS TOTAL WILL BE CREATED)

Step 3: Cut Small Rectangles Into Box Sides

Picture of Cut Small Rectangles Into Box Sides

These holes will be where the locking tabs are inserted.

1. Measure out how far from the edges of your box the tabs are located (Match them up with the flaps)

2. Cut 6 rectangles into the sides of your box (I didn't get one of mine aligned correctly first time so I just cut a little extra out after measuring was done, easy peasy)

3. Tuck tabs through the cut rectangles (Pinching the tabs to be nearly flat is fine)

4. Once tabs are through you can fold the tabs against the inside of the box (Duct tape can be applied here to fully lock the tabs. It is not essential and my light box uses no tape)

Step 4: Cut 3 Openings for Lights

Picture of Cut 3 Openings for Lights

These openings SHOULD be cut once the box flaps are locked into their supportive positions.

1. I left about 2 inches of the box around each planned opening to insure the light box retains some strength.

* Whatever size you decide on cut them all the same so that the light enters the box equally.

2. Grab your poster paper and measure out the width of your box (Cut the poster paper for a snug fit so that it won't shift around)

Step 5: Cover Box With White Cloth

Picture of Cover Box With White Cloth

Drape the white material over the box (I eventually used some pins to keep it a little tidier, and easier/quicker to set up, but that is not necessary)

Step 6: Prep & Plug in Lights

Picture of Prep & Plug in Lights

1. Leave one short-side-flap open on the little box. This will tuck under the big box to add stability.

2. Place flexible light atop the small box

3. Attach the clip lights to the hardback books

4. The three lights use the one extension chord to keep everything tidy.



Now you are ready to take photos!! Play around with the lighting placements, the background, the camera angles and I'm positive you can capture the clean and professional images you desire.

The Higher Than Life Klothing hat and the plastic Quaffer shotglass were taken with my lightbox and edited in Photoshop (they only needed a white balance & the levels adjusted slightly to blow out the background better)

* I use a small 4 inch tall photo portfolio box to slide underneath the background paper to create a "steeper angle" on the paper at the back of the box. This allows me to slide my products further back into the box which in turn allows more light to hit the front of the products.


NerdyGirl79 made it! (author)2016-06-09

Made a really smaller version of this with craft foam board I got from the craft store.

Took some test shots. Not bad. These were taken from my phone. I need better lighting though. But still not bad.


HTLK (author)NerdyGirl792016-06-10

What's the material you are shining your lights through?! That will affect brightness. Also, maybe adding a third light for the right side!? And if you add a white curved paper in the background you'll not have corners behind your bracelets and monsters. :)

NerdyGirl79 (author)HTLK2016-06-10

I actually used tissue paper-had a lot if it lying around. I couldn't find my 3rd lamp (I know I have it somewhere). The only thing I didn't have was the curved paper for the background.

HTLK (author)NerdyGirl792016-06-11

Gotcha. That should be thin enough, i just don't know if the "space" between cotton/polyester fibers allows light through better than even the thinnest papers!? Welp if lighting still seems low uppin the bulb watts/lumens should do the trick... especially once your third light comes out of hiding! :)

HTLK (author)NerdyGirl792016-06-10

Besides those things the box looks wicked! And great job substituting materials.

NerdyGirl79 (author)2016-06-07

I've always wanted to make one of these. I really need it - I make customized etch glass mugs and can never get a good picture of them.

Gonna give this a try!


HTLK (author)NerdyGirl792016-06-08

Give us a shout if you have any questions during your build and we'd love to see some final product pics! Happy konstructing! :)

ardystal gysr (author)2016-01-14

awesome and great idea

HTLK (author)ardystal gysr2016-01-16

Thank you. We're ballin on a budget!

CraftAndu (author)2016-01-14

Wow, really nice. One day I will make one if I get a better camera ;)

HTLK (author)CraftAndu2016-01-16

Honestly, any ole phone camera should even suffice if the box receives enough light. Any which way though we hope you get a wonderfully fantastic camera soon! :)

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-01-14

Great photography setup.

Cheers mate! We appreciate the positive feedback.

About This Instructable




Bio: Creating as much as we can from as little as possible.
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